“I can’t believe how many people turned up in such bad weather! The meeting really felt like the beginning of something exciting. It was a great atmosphere and really good to meet other people in my community.” – Hannah
Despite the rain, 90 residents came together last night to launch ACORN in Heaton and collectively decide on our first campaign!
Announcing the first campaign
The vote was overwhelming: we need to take on housing in the private-rented sector.
"One neighbhour told me she'd been told to pay £700 agency fees for nothing, just to secure her home. Another said her walls were black with mould. It was great to see so many people vote to campaign on this!"
During the night and in our small discussion tables, we heard about damp and mould, poor standards, high fees and deposits not being returned fairly among many other examples of unfair treatment of tenants. These are things we want to work together on to change.
In small groups, we discussed priorities for campaigns and came up with a list of things we can work on in the future for example, the local environment/climate change and cuts to benefits. But every single group’s number 1 priority was housing, which was voted for overwhelmingly as the first campaign.
Because we don’t want to be just a talking-shop, we planned out the first campaign action with loads of fun ideas such as setting up a fake house in the street, establishing awards for best and worst housing in the area and fancy dress. We decided as a group what we really wanted to do first was find out more from people about good and bad examples, set up a fake letting agent on Chillingham Rd and begin a conversation with letting agents.
So we’re going to do that a week on Saturday. Come along, wear red and a Santa’s hat and RSVP here.
(photo credit: Fran Maddison)
This is the start of a truly people-powered organisation that wants to take action on issues that matter in our community. It was exciting and inspiring to see so many people talking about what we can do to create change in our communities.
We also decided on our interim officers. Eight people, including some who were new to ACORN, put themselves forward to help lead and organise the group as we get started.